Architects on Architecture


We are what we build. That theme is at the heart of the upcoming Central Valley Region Architecture Festival (Oct. 12–28). Through project tours, public forums, film screenings, lectures and family programs to be held at venues across the city, organizers hope to spark a community dialogue about our regional identity as it relates to the buildings all around us. Maria Ogrydziak, president of the Central Valley chapter of The American Institute of Architects, talks about why a citywide conversation about architecture is necessary.

So why an architecture festival?
I think it’s time to try and understand our region in terms of its physical sense of place, which includes buildings and landscape and how they connect. Our region is starting to emerge in terms of an identity. I think it’s a really great time to begin a dialogue about it.

What do you hope the public will take away from the festival?
I hope they’ll see that where they live and work is shaped to a great degree by what architects do.

Does the Sacramento region have an architectural vernacular? What is it?
Well, I think we’re working on it. We’re searching for it. We have a lot of important styles that are repeated in various ways. In terms of global history, we are a very new area. We don’t have thousands of years of history to build on, so I think we really are looking for who we are and developing our—I don’t want to call it a style, but a way of looking at how we are engaged in this place.

Like politics, then, it would seem that all good architecture is local.
Yes, architecture should be local. It should grow from a particular site. It should grow from the views that are there. It should grow from the orientation and context and everything about the particular place. That’s not possible when the design that’s being built wasn’t thought through with that in mind. Architecture is about building for a particular place. It’s not about producing a design that could be built anywhere in the world, because that doesn’t make any sense. What’s fascinating about this festival is that we’ll get to look at some particular projects

What are you most looking forward to at the festival?
The concept of trying to understand the region and what it’s about—that’s the highlight for me. I’m particularly intrigued by the idea that the Central Valley is such an important and iconic place in terms of California’s history but also global understanding.


What: The Central Valley Region Architecture Festival

When: Oct. 12–28

Where: Venues across the city

For more information, visit